What defines success at New Heights? Often it is measured by the number of our student-athletes who graduate from high school, or the number who enter and complete college. The considerable list of alumni who are now employed by top companies, or who have achieved their dreams of playing basketball professionally is used as well. Those facts and figures are indeed compelling. They demonstrate that our College Bound program works, and show the many benefits of quality sports-based youth development initiatives. But here at New Heights, a lesser known statistic is the number of alumni who are inspired to give back to our community by working for our organization and on behalf of our mission. Over the past 12 years New Heights has proudly and enthusiastically hired dozens of program graduates – including our current Communications and Development Associate, Chelsea Baez.
Chelsea has been “on the New Heights team” in one way or another for most of her life. She came to us as a third grader through Saturday Skills, New Heights’ series of basketball clinics open to youth throughout the city. During that time she met members of our coaching staff who saw in her a promising future, and invited her to attend more formal practices. Two years later Chelsea officially joined College Bound and our 5th Grade Girls basketball team, and stayed with the program through high school graduation when she took a Team Leader position with our Student-Athlete Summer Academy. In 2015 Chelsea began working part-time while completing her degree, in the Fall of 2016 she transitioned to full-time in her current role, and epitomizes the spirit of the New Heights community.
In addition to being a vital member of the New Heights staff, Chelsea is a role model and inspiration to countless youth in New York City who are following in her footsteps. And last month her work was recognized through the “Make It Possible” campaign, sponsored by Squarespace and the New York Knicks. Highlighting Chelsea and the power of mentoring programs for young people, the following video was tweeted recently by the Knicks and features Chelsea in her own words. We’re thrilled to share it with you!